Sep 302011

So it’s been a long time since I’ve posted an update here to my travel blog. Sorry for that. The happy truth is, I’m not really traveling anymore.

I’ve moved in to an apartment in Rome, where I’ll stay until early 2012 before moving back to the States. Things are great here: I’ve been street performing (sometimes for a charity or a celebrity), teaching English, eating truly fresh mozzarella, jogging alongside aqueducts, writing and spending a lot of time with Valentina. In other words, enjoying la dolce vita.

As you saw just now if you clicked on any of those links, I’ve also been blogging shorter updates over at Google Plus. My updates are public, and you don’t need a Google Plus account to see them — just check out my profile here from time to time if you want to see what I’ve been up to, or click the big G+ icon on the upper-righthand side of this page.

I won’t be updating this blog very often now that I’m focusing on other things, so if you’d like to keep up with my current (admittedly domestic) adventures, check me out on Google Plus. I’m also looking for a good way to feed my updates from there directly to this page.

I did have one more travel adventure between Turkey and Italy… in the Balkans. I spent about a month exploring former Yugoslavia and Albania, but I’ll have to tell you all about that some other time.

Thanks, everyone, for following along over the past 15(!) months. Taking this trip has been the most rewarding decision I’ve ever made, and I really owe you guys for being so fantastically supportive at every step. Your interest, comments and emails have accentuated my good experiences by allowing me to share them, kept me company in times of loneliness, and helped me feel connected to home as I was exploring worlds far outside of my comfort zone.

If anyone out there has any questions about Europe, CouchSurfing, or travel in general — even if it’s five years from now and you’re someone I’ve never met — please feel free to email me or use the contact form at the righthand side of this page and I’ll be happy to help. Same for anyone who just happens to miss me :). Just be sure to check your spam filter afterward, because my reply emails are often flagged as spam (maybe I should stop using the word “enlargement” so often).

That’s it, for now. Until next time!



 Posted by at 4:55 am
Jul 152011

I had that dream again. The one where I’m back with you, mispronouncing “as-salāmu alaykum” and “teşekkürlar” once more. The one where I go farther, deeper, and finally see those parts of you that I promised I would: the sprawling landscape, the untamed cities, and most of all, your small, sweet villages in the east.

Oh, Turkey, you know I wanted all of that. But Cappadocia was like flypaper. I was… Continue reading: Turkey | 2 Comments

 Posted by at 8:38 am
May 152011

It would be a lie to say that the last seven countries have been a blur. Only Denmark, Sweden, and Norway went by quickly enough to be referred to in smeared visual terms. By contrast, I had a leisurely 5 days in Austria, receiving lessons in classical guitar and Viennese botany from Marie and David.

That’s the same number of days I spent in Sezze, Italy with my girlfriend… Continue reading: Austria, Italy 2, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway | 5 Comments

 Posted by at 2:30 pm
Mar 112011

Snow. Heavy, wet flakes at the border in southern Ukraine, fluttering against the windows while you wait in line at the Romanian checkpoint.

You’re in the back seat of a van, driven by a Romanian plastic-wreath runner. Two women are on the middle bench seat in front of you: the driver’s family maybe, or friends. The relationship isn’t clear, and their English is as good as your Romanian. But… Continue reading: Romania, Hungary, Slovakia | 2 Comments

 Posted by at 7:06 am
Feb 282011

After spending a night in Lviv in a hostel, my main CouchSurfing host was Ira, a PhD student studying Croatian. Native to Lviv, Ira and her grandparents hosted me just outside of the city.

Within an hour of my arrival, Ira was pouring shots of Ukrainian vodka and homemade rose liqueur for everyone, which we followed with pickled cabbage with mushrooms her grandmother had picked in the neighboring forest… Continue reading: Ukraine | 1 Comment

 Posted by at 10:04 am
Feb 152011

My train window from Wroclaw to Krakow framed a five-hour expanse of white ground like untouched paper. Entranced by the icy flatlands, I imagined their frozen histories of plowing, harvest, starvation and bloodshed under Soviet, Austrian and German rule, the winter returning after each to lay a fresh layer of immaculate snow over the country.

An occasional ten minutes of town would be followed by more stillness, more fields… Continue reading: Poland | 2 Comments

 Posted by at 2:05 pm
Jan 292011

Step 1: Fly back to Ireland and see Gideon, Hannah and Kathie again. Observe what happens when travel-addicts live in one place for over six months.

Step 2: Fly back to Oregon to spend holidays with the fam. Surprise sister. Notice the big cars and people, huge supermarkets, and cheaper everything – even most products imported from Europe.

Step 3: Fly back to Dublin and then… Continue reading: Steps Retraced

 Posted by at 11:37 am
Jan 182011

I haven’t been abducted while hitch-hiking or murdered by a CouchSurfing host, I promise… I was just in Oregon for a little while. But I’m back in Europe now, and will be posting updates again shortly.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

Sincerest regards,

Kyle Jacob Byers… Continue reading: Oregon

 Posted by at 4:51 pm
Dec 012010

It starts at the border outside Chamonix, France, where you catch a ride with an Italian man in his 60s who is on his way to Aosta Valley, the left foot of the Alps. He speaks Italian to you, you speak Spanish back, and you understand each other throughout the hour-long drive. He points out places along the road where his memories are kept: the river where he broke his… Continue reading: Italy | 5 Comments

 Posted by at 9:06 am
Nov 062010

Something this trip has consistently given me is experience with novel ways of interacting with strangers. I’d already stayed in the homes of dozens of people I’d never met before, made friends with fellow travelers based solely on a shared language or sometimes not even that, played ukulele and sang on the street with beatboxing waiters, and had countless fellow pedestrians give me not just directions but short personal tours… Continue reading: France | 1 Comment

 Posted by at 11:42 am